10 Supplies that Changed Our Homeschool Forever


I've been homeschooling for 18 years. In that time, I've been through a lot of products, books, and curricula.

Only a few have been what I would consider life changing.

The following is a list of products that had a profound effect on our homeschool in one way or another.

Spring Activities To Do With Your Kids (Indoors and Outdoors)

Spring is in the air!
Spring Activities to Do with Kids

The warmer days, beautiful flowers blooming, and the opportunities to get outside and enjoy the days make spring such a wonderful time of year. Everyone is excited to get outside!

Sometimes, however, the weather doesn't cooperate, so today am sharing both indoor and outdoor activities you can do with your children.
Here is a list of activities. On the warmer days you might want to get out and enjoy the weather, and on some more rainy or cooler days stay inside!

9 Homeschool Products We Added to Our Curriculum in 2013

Of all the #homeschool products and curricula I tried in 2013, these are my top picks of the year. @tmichellecannon
Homeschool is ever-changing. I started out with this curriculum in February, but have tried and added quite a few homeschool products along the way. 

It happens. We try. We renew. We change.

In 2013, I tried quite a few homeschool products and curricula. Here are my favorites.

100 Reasons to Homeschool

When I decided to write this post, I went to my Facebook community for input. I asked their reasons for homeschooling.

Between them and me, we have a list of 100 things!

1. Children can learn in a style and at a pace that fits them.
2. Freedom to learn in the real world.
3. Freedom to live in a natural way rather than quietly sitting all day.
4. Children are free to explore their own interests and talents.
5. We can take field trips or travel whenever we want to.

6. We can evaluate our children rather than test them.
7. We don't have to teach to the test. 
8. No state mandated curriculum.
9. We can choose to teach religious studies or not.
10. We can use our time efficiently. No busy work. 

Curriculum Overview: Homeschool Year 2012-13

Our Charlotte Mason Education
Year 4

Our Charlotte Mason curriculum for the 2012-13 homeschool year.

It's my favorite time of the homeschool blogger year: The NOT Back-to-School Blog Hop! It started back in 2009 and I participate each year because I love seeing what everyone has in store for their homeschool year. What fun!

Curriculum Week
This week, we are sharing our curriculum. I put mine together a while back because our "first day of school" was in April. However, like many of you, I tweak as we go. I am re-posting my original plan with the "tweaks" included.

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Week Found a New Home

new house

This is something I've kept under my hat for a while, but I've been looking to move.

Housing in my area has become unaffordable, to say the least. Experts claim the country is experiencing an affordable housing crisis because millennials, unlike generations past, aren't purchasing homes. 

They're just renting indefinitely.

The result is sky-high rental rates. At least that's the case in the Orlando-Daytona area, where I currently live.

Notebooking for Reluctant Writers

Guest Blogger, Kaylene, joins us today to share her experience with NotebookingPages.com.
notebooking for reluctant writers

child writing on notebooking page
{Disclosure: I am a paid brand ambassador for this company. Having used their products for years, and finding them worthy of promotion, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.}

Mr. C absolutely loves to learn, but he's always been a struggling writer. Well, struggling, reluctant, unmotivated, something. 

He's always been my "writing is not my favorite" kiddo. You can imagine my surprise when my struggling writer asked about notebooking. I'd been Pinteresting, and he read the blog post I found over my shoulder. 

I explained what it was and he decided he wanted to try, but only if "it was a really cool topic and the sheets looked cool."  Oh dear. I'm the farthest thing from "cool!"

I drive a minivan. How was I going to get notebooking pages "cool" enough to inspire my struggling writer to use them?

30 Ways Your Kids Can Enjoy 30 Minutes in Nature

Child playing outdoors

Kids these days aren't spending enough time outdoors.

Perhaps Miss Charlotte Mason and Mr. John Muir understood the importance of being outdoors, but modern people seem to be lacking in this knowledge.

Nature isn't just for naturalists. It's for everyone.

Nature was created for us. Therefore, we benefit from it. In fact, we need it. Nature is the key to good physical and mental health. 

Just google "children, outdoors, important" and you'll find a wealth of information on the social, cognitive, and health benefits of being outdoors.

So how can we get out kids outdoors more often?

child on monkeybars

30 Ways Your Kids Can Enjoy 30 Minutes in Nature

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

Here are some easy ways to add outdoor time to your day. 

A photo posted by Michelle Cannon (@tmichellecannon) on
  • Make a nature shadow box or nature table.
  • Look for traces of animals (tracks and scat).
  • Sketch in your nature journal.
  • Collect items for your nature journal.
  • Listen for sounds in nature.

  • Eat outside. Always fun!
  • Observe spiders and their webs.
  • Take photos. Macro photos of flowers, spiders, icicles, or any other thing in nature, make for a great scrapbook or addition to your nature journal.
  • Climb trees.
  • Build a fort!

A photo posted by Michelle Cannon (@tmichellecannon) on
A photo posted by Michelle Cannon (@tmichellecannon) on

A photo posted by Michelle Cannon (@tmichellecannon) on
  • Play outdoor games.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Explore shells and rocks at the beach.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Hike in a nearby state park.
What ideas would you add to the list?

More useful tasks that take little time!

Need more assistance? 

I'm full of nature-y ideas. Get them delivered them to your inbox! Subscribe here. 

Dear Mom Who Puts Things Off for the Perfect Time

Dear Mom Who Puts Things Off for the Perfect Time

Dear Mom Who Puts Things off for the Perfect Time,

You know who you are. 

You're the mom who waits for all her ducks to be in a row before taking action. You have many plans, many of them unfinished, and most never even started. 

You want better for your kids. 
You want better for your marriage, your house, your career, and everything else. 
want better, but nothing ever seems to get better, does it? 

For you, there is always an excuse for putting things off.

Our Charlotte Mason High School Curriculum 2014-15

A Charlotte Mason high school curriculum covering all subjects from nature study to writing, history to science.

Our Charlotte Mason High School Curriculum


{This post may contain affiliate links.}

World History and American History

Alexis will be taking both World and American history this year. Although we've been studying world history from the beginning of our Charlotte Mason education, I believe that high school is an opportunity to study those periods again more intensely and with a more mature mind.

5 Reasons I Use a Kindle in Our Homeschool


When eReaders first came on the market, I thought they were silly. There was no way I was ever going to use a tablet to read a book.

In February 2012, I purchased a Kindle Fire. 

In February 2013, I purchased a Kindle Fire HD.

I guess you can say I changed my tune. I like the Kindle. It serves our homeschool well.

Artist Study & Art Appreciation: Van Gogh

Art Appreciation: Vincent van Gogh
For the next 12 weeks, our composer study and music appreciation will focus on Vincent Van Gogh.

Speaking from the Heart: Why I Changed My Blog's Direction


I've been blogging for a long time. A very long time.

My blogging journey began in 2005 with my first business website. By the end of that year, I had three businesses with blogs.

One was a natural mothering online store/blog. Another was a green cleaning service with blog. And yet another was an online store that sold holistic-living products like soaps, soy candles, and nutritional supplements.

Business and blogs. That's what I did.

What to Do When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure

Sometimes life makes homeschooling difficult. Learn what to do when you feel like a homeschool failure.

Stressed woman at computer desk

Life is going along smoothly. Homeschool plans and schedules are in place. Then suddenly, you find you just can't find the time to homeschool.

Or perhaps the picture looks like this: Maybe it's not a sudden change in life, but a slow progressive change that you barely notice. One day you realize you haven't done lessons in weeks!

It can happen to anyone at any time.

25 Nature Study Activities for Winter

Nature studies are fun on their own, but did you know you can combine them with arts and crafts? Here's a list of 25 nature studies that do just that!
25 Nature Study Activities for Winter

Nature and art go hand-in-hand. 

Using arts and crafts to compliment your nature studies not only helps the children to retain information, but also creates a delightful memories. Believe it or not, there are quite a few ideas for combining the two, besides sketching.

I've scoured the internet looking for resources, and this is the list I've come up with for winter nature study activities.

10 Must-Have Nature Study Supplies

If you're setting outdoors for a nature study, you'll need a few basics. These must-have nature study supplies will get you off on the right foot! 10 Must-Have Nature Study Supplies

Nature studies are one of my favorite things to do with my kids. I have a profound respect for nature, and very few things make me happier than to share the wonders of it with my children.

I don't set out to make every single outdoor experience a formal lesson, of course. Sometimes we hike just to hike, right? Even so, every hike shows us something we've never seen before. And maybe - just maybe - we end up researching more about the things we saw.

Education. This is how it naturally happens.

From nature walks to studying nature while you're on vacation, there are so many creative ideas for nature studies, but you need to be equipped for it. That's why I've created this list of must-have nature study supplies.

6 Fall Traditions My Family Enjoys

Our family has a list of things we do each and every autumn season. Come find out what they are.

I've been waiting for fall for months now. I know that must sound crazy. I don't know why it was on my mind, but it was. For a few months, I've been having mental flashes to all the things we did last fall and found myself anticipating all the fun events.

And now it's finally here. FALL IS HERE! 

Right now our family is busy preparing for the birth of another child. The baby is due on October 8th (Yay! Another grandchild!) and we're putting together foods for labor and postpartumn. (You can see some of the great suggestions my Facebook followers gave me here.) But baby needs to time this right, because I have plans! ;-) 

Here are a few of our family traditions.

Top 10 Charlotte Mason Homeschool Resources

A list of ten Charlotte Mason resources for your homeschool. www.HeartofMichelle.com

Today, I'm listing my top ten favorite sites for Charlotte Mason homeschooling. In no particular order, they are:

1. Jimmie's Collage- I am not an artsy-craftsy, creative person. Jimmie, however, takes the practical application of the Charlotte Mason methods and turns them into something inspiring! She's one of those moms who really knows how to make learning fun.

2. Charlotte Mason Home Education- This site is chock full of resources for anyone interested in the CM method.

Sharing My Daughters' Artwork

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Alexis loves to draw. Lorelai doesn't particularly "love" it but she does it with Alexis in order to spend time with her. A few months ago, I wanted to share with you Lorelai's first attempt at anime (it was a more humorous moment when she showed it to everyone.. even she was cracking up) and then her second attempt (much improved). Unfortunately, with the move, I can't locate that first oh-so-funny drawing. Suffice it to say, that she drew a tongue sticking out of a person's face and it looked more like a buck-toothed hillbilly. 

Today, I am sharing with you several of their drawings. The photos won't be all that great because I am using my android (not exactly photography quality!) because the real camera has dead batteries and I'm impatient. 

Ending 2010 Where We Began: Van Gogh & Daddy

A homeschool mom shares the tragedy and beauty that brought Vincent van Gogh into the hearts of her children forever. #suicide #bipolardisorder

We are quickly approaching the end of 2010. This year was not kind to our family.  Many of you know this. 

Despite the tragedy of varying types, there were brighter days throughout the year. And so it is to our benefit to focus on those beautiful days and moments with which we are blessed. We cannot allow our personal tragedies to blind us to the beauty that surrounds us. Those moments and memories help us to overcome life's difficulties.  

And so I end this year with a positive attitude.

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